Most students are encourage to look for jobs during their final year of college or university. However, if you haven’t been lucky enough to land a job right away, job-hunting can become an anxiety-inducing, exhausting time.
Keeping organized is the best way to keep your head on your shoulders. You don’t want to forget to follow up with a recruiter, or forget to send out an application. And since most students and grads almost always have a device of some sort at their fingertips, apps and programs are a great way to stay on top of your job hunt. Here are a few great strategies!
Spreadsheet programs like Microsoft Office Excel, Apple Numbers, and Google Drive Sheets are an easy way to keep organized.
Make columns for the following information:
- Date you saw the ad
- Name of company
- Name of available position
- Brief description of duties listed in ad (alternatively: URL of ad)
- Ad closing date
- Required materials
- Date application submitted
- Status of application
Of course, these are general suggestions; feel free to customize to your particular job-hunting needs.
Consider having different spreadsheets for different kinds of jobs. For example, if you’re looking into administrative and social media jobs, it can be more convenient to divide the jobs by this category.
Another strategy is to divide between entry-level jobs and summer jobs. If you are short on time, you can prioritize on the former without your spreadsheet being cluttered with jobs you don’t have time to focus on right now.
Spreadsheets are an useful way to track your job applications: as you fill out each cell, you have a birds’ eye view of your job hunt.
To-do list programs
If you are not a fan of spreadsheets, consider to-do lists. There are a wealth of choices out there, and many of them are cross-platform and available as mobile apps. Some great examples are Trello, Wunderlist, and Any.Do.
The great thing about these programs is the ability to create different lists: you can have a different checklist for each job you’re applying to. Include in the title of each list the name of the position, the name of the company, and the application deadline.
I suggest the following general points for each job:
- Research the position
- Revise CV
- Write cover letter
- Send CV and cover letter
- Prepare for interview
- Attend interview on [date] at [location]
- Send post-interview thank-you note
Some of these are larger tasks than others, so if necessary, split them up as separate points in the to-do list. For example, preparing for an interview is a complex task: this may involve choosing an appropriate outfit, researching the company and your interviewer(s), and making sure you know your way to the interview location.
The advantage of to-do lists is that you have a clear list of tasks and each time you check something off, you get a sense of satisfaction.
Web clipping and “read-later” programs
The purpose of these programs is to save and archive job advertisements. Compare copy-and-pasting the URL and ad content into a word document to saving to one of these aforementioned programs. Not only is the latter a much quicker task, it saves you the effort of having to find the ad again, especially if it is later deleted.
Once you have job advertisements saved, it will be useful to organize them into different folders. Your system can be organized by job type, which can refer to the industry or whether the job is short-term contractual or potentially long-term. Different programs have different capabilities, but if possible, annotate your archived clippings. These notes to yourself can be a great line for the cover letter or a reminder to talk to someone you know who works in the company. Keeping these notes together with the advertisement ensures you won’t forget something that will help you succeed in finding that dream job.
Job hunting can be stressful – but if you embrace the use of technology, you can make the process more organized and streamlined.